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CDC walks back guidance on COVID-19 testing for consumers without symptoms

The agency now says that consumers could get tested if they come into contact with a COVID-19 patient

Photo (c) Diy13 - Getty Images
"Uh-oh" is the word of the day at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After an outcry from the medical and scientific communities over the its updated its COVID-19 testing guidelines -- stating that people without symptoms of the virus may not need to be tested -- the agency is trying its best to walk back that opinion without getting egg on its face.

CDC director Robert Redfield issued even newer advice for coronavirus testing on Thursday afternoon, saying that those who come into contact with confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients could be tested after all -- whether they show symptoms of the virus or not.

Redfield also claims that the guidelines the agency published on Monday had been done in concert with the White House coronavirus task force. 

“Testing is meant to drive actions and achieve specific public health objectives,” Redfield said. “Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.”

The CDC was busy on Thursday. Not only did Redfield flip the narrative on his agency’s earlier guidance, but the department also issued updates for contact tracing and how the agency investigates a COVID-19 case.

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